Force India look more than capable of challenging for a place in Q3 tomorrow after both drivers were solidly in the top ten this afternoon at Monza. Paul Di Resta and Nico Hulkenberg clocked almost identical times in seventh and eighth respectively, both within a quarter of a second of the leader, and Di Resta was pleased with the car the second he stepped in it.
“A pretty standard afternoon session for me and I seemed to get in the groove quite quickly. The preparation we had done in the simulator was useful and the baseline set-up was not very far away from where we needed to be. We improved the car with each run so there’s plenty of data to go through tonight to improve our performance before qualifying.”
Hulkenberg wasn’t quite as positive with the German still unsure as to which set-up direction to go in, a decision he will have to make overnight.
“It was nice to have a dry and straightforward Friday for a change so that we could get through our programme and complete some long runs. Overall we look in reasonable shape, although I’m not totally happy with the set-up yet. We learned a lot about the tyres and both the hard and medium are working well here. The other big decision to make tonight is what downforce levels we will use over the weekend.”
Jules Bianchi filled in for Di Resta in FP1 and acquitted himself well once again, finishing sixteenth quickest, and gathered more useful data to the team.
“I’m very happy with how things went today”, commented the Frenchman. “I felt very comfortable in the car and had the confidence to really push and make the most of the programme. There was a lot of traffic on my first run, but the other two runs were better and I was able to complete some good timed laps. The team asked me to run some different aero levels to get a feel for the car and we made some small improvements between the runs. So I feel very positive and I want to thank the team once again for the chance to drive the car.”